"When we had our children, our ideas changed somewhat. Thenceforward we lived only for them; they made all our happiness and we would never have found it save in them. In fact, nothing any longer cost us anything; the world was no longer a burden to us. As for me, my children were my great compensation, so that I wished to have many in order to bring them up for Heaven" -- Saint Zelie Martin, mother of St. Therese of Lisieux, canonized October 18, 2015 along with her husband St. Louis Martin.

Saturday, November 28, 2015

Thanksgiving Backlash: Overheard

hubby: "The dog threw up on the couch."

me: "what? no, really?"

hubby: "They said it looks like turkey"

Wednesday, November 25, 2015

The Return of the Hunt!

Aragorn got himself a ten-point buck!  (Do we love the tongue hanging out? lol)

Happy.  Proud.

 It's a little sad to see just how beautiful these animals are.  They had to cut the mouth to see how old the buck was (he was two).

 A debt of gratitude to my brothers for orchestrating this first hunt for Arwen, Aragorn and Gimli.  My husband went with two of my brothers, so all three kids could go with one adult to accompany each child.  My husband didn't grow up hunting, so it was hugely helpful to have my brothers there to gut (and help drag) the buck.  My dad never hunted, so when my brothers wanted to learn they had to do everything by trial and error (with my sainted father dutifully assisting the effort).  They tell hillarious tales of the first time they had to gut a deer: reading a manual as my dad operated the knife.

And we've got 100 pounds of meat headed our way by Thanksgiving!  We just fired up the deep-freeze.  My kids are dreaming of deer sausage on the griddle with eggs--sooo good!

Congratulations Aragorn!

Monday, November 23, 2015

Christmas Brainstorming

***If Arwen is reading my blog--stop now, babe, sorry, you'll spoil Christmas! Love you!***

So,  I've been trying to look ahead.  I just hate last-minute Christmas present shopping!!

I thought it would be fun to share with you some of the things I thought were cute.  I think I might be an Amazon affiliate, but I've never sold a thing.  It seems like everyone puts that out there as a caveat. Is that required? If you buy something, I'll let you know if I get a kickback!:)

I told you that Eowyn is hugely into her kitchen these days, and we have only bits and pieces of tea sets left.   I saw a few I liked...

These seem to get rusty when kids (like mine) use lots of water for tea parties:

But they are durable and I like this pattern.  I'm sure I've had two other sets over the years, one was ladybugs and another roses.  I think this one would be perfect for Eowyn...except I've seen them all end up rusted.  So...

The question is, would water be worse with a set like this?  Because I LOVE this set!!

I've mentioned before that I sort of have a Plan Toys fettish...but I think it's the wood!  And the tea bags!! I like the size and shape and that there aren't too many tiny pieces to lose.  But, water?

I'm afraid, so I'm also tempted to follow my sister's advice and go for this one:

Could it be more beautiful?  I think it might actually be real!  But we have a friend who got them for her little girl's three-year-old birthday party.  My only concern: how shatter proof are these?

Well, moving on from tea sets (we can't spend all day)...

I don't know what it is about this little set of princess blocks, but I love it every time I see it!

My sister found this dollie for her girls.  We have so many dolls...but, it's soooo sweet!  Soft and cuddly.

And, I've had these in my cart more times...I just think they'd be nice in the schoolroom.  Good math manipulative, fun, and would keep little hands busy while I'm busy with bigger ones.  Just haven't sprung for it...yet.

Big Kids:

Wish I had thought to go about buying these this way, rather than one by one:

I haven't read them myself, and they are available at the local library.  I'm not sure we need to add the collection to our home library unless my kids really love them and want to read them over and again...I love the idea of getting stacks of books for Christmas...decisions, decisions.

Is it just me, or does everyone think "The Christmas Story" when they hear someone wants a BB gun for Christmas?

I'm not sure this is the one they want.  I leave all fire-arm decisions up to my husband.  I like safety.  

I've got to show this, though, because I think it's going to be a huge hit.  I think I'll put in someone's stocking for St. Nick...

I was also eyeing this one, because they really are so much fun:

Middle girls:

So, for the record I'm completely against Barbie.  I know many women out there grew up loving and playing with them, but I didn't.  Even way back then, my parents thought they were immodest.  Play acting Ken and Barbie hopping into the pink convertable to go to the mall isn't my idea of teaching my girls to grow up to be modest and holy wives and mothers.  Tea parties and play kitchens, babies wrapped in play silks, yes.  Have you browsed the Barbie aisle recently?  The poses of the dolls alone are enough to make a case against them!  No, I haven't mentioned the bust line.  And heaven forbid one of them wind up without their clothes laying around for the boys to gawk at!

But...this summer my two middle girls were playing with their little neighborhood girl friends.  They had buckets of Barbies from their mother's childhood.  Lots of outfits and shoes to try on...and they are girls.:)  Well, my girls asked if they could have just one, modest Barbie.  I'm not sure (given their form) that such a thing really exists, but...I got Galadriel a ballerina and Rosie a cowgirl with a horse.  Then Rosie's Barbie's head popped off, and it just didn't hold straight when we popped it back on.  And Galadriel really wanted some modest clothes to play with.

I searched and searched.  I found

These say something about a "puppy adventure", but I didn't actually see puppies included.  I wouldn't say they are perfectly modest, but they come pretty close, and none of them look like they have bad attitudes.  Fairly sweet and feminine.  I can handle it.

And this for Rosie:

Arwen never really had a chance to play dolls much.  Followed by her two brothers, she sort of went the route of horses and then a huge tom-boy phase.  Now she's interested in photography and she's always loved animals, writing, and art.  She didn't have little neighborhood friends when she was younger (now she does, which is nice) so I'm loving the sweetness of Galadriel and Rosie liking to play house and Lego Friends on picnic tables in our back yards (well, before the snow fell!).  I do keep pretty close tabs on what sort of "play" goes on.  One funny little story, one of the neighbors got the Lego Friends rockstar stage (it's called something else that's eluding me at the moment).

Let's see...there's this one

and this one

  It comes with different wigs for the singers to wear, including a blue one.  Obviously, this isn't really up my alley.  However, Galadriel came back one day and was explaining how she coordinated blue hair with a blue top and blue skirt.  To her, I think it was all about a pretty ensemble.  I'm afraid the punk element of having blue hair was lost upon her ("to the innocent...").  I did refuse to consider buying these sets for our family, but there are some pretty cute ones available.

I picked out this one:

and I think Galadriel would love this (she's into dolphins):

I'm out of time, but I'm just going to post this for the fun of it.   Pretty superficial post, yes.  Maybe I'll get deep as Advent really draws near!:)

Monday Morning Daybook

Outside my window:  it is still early morning and there is still a snow-scape.  

Bilbo threw snow at our front window and it stuck.  Legolas and Reina were watching the kids play. I thought they looked cute together! They're good friends.

I am listening to: Galadriel and Bilbo playing a game on the rug.  Legolas is next to me.  Everyone else?  Well, Eowyn and Rosie are still sleeping, but the big kids and my husband are hunting!!

Crafting Creating very belated gifts: 
My goddaughter turned three in September.  Yesterday I was determined to get the pile of flannel and fleece off of my dining room table!  It was snowy outside, and there was a game on, so it was the perfect opportunity to finish this project that had been sitting in my brain (and on my buffet) for weeks!

I found this darling flannel with nursery rhyme images on it.  I was hoping that it wasn't too babyish for a three year old.   

I just tie the top to the bottom with embroidery floss.  Still need to teach myself to quilt with a machine.  New Year's resolution.

So, in my crazy way, I thought I'd solve the problem by making the blanket bigger.  I usally make receiving blankets for babies that are just the right size to wrap around a newborn and use as a nursing blanket.  I thought about three-year-olds and started thinking rain forts and cozy read-aloud sessions on the couch with a bunch of siblings fighting over the blanket.

Sorry for the terrible lighting, my phone camera (rrrr) just to give you an idea of the size:

It's draped over two desks in the school room.  It was REALLY sunny and bright, which made my camera turn everything dark.  Lest you wonder why I didn't turn on a light already!

It is probably too big for a toddler bed... I'm not super at making good decisions.

Here's a glimpse at the coordinating flannel on the top:

(Do you see the soft pink fleece for the bottom? It makes a blanket like this SO warm, and pretty heavy...I'm not going to lie, it was hard to put the top on the bottom, and it's FAR from perfect).

Plans for the week:  I still plan on schooling Monday through Wednesday.  I might be persuaded to give the kids a day off of school to do a pre-holiday full-house cleaning.  My in-laws are coming the week after Thanksgiving and Advent starts next Sunday.  Both are good reasons to clean this house!

Looking ahead: Christmas shopping isn't simple when you have eight children!  Think about it: just one present for each, purchased and wrapped and hidden is not a simple proposition.  We usually get more than one present.  This year, I am promising the children ONE.  As in, they may request one special gift that they would really like (as opposed to handing us long lists of wishes).  Then I'll probably surprise them with little extras.

My boys all want BB guns this year.  Well, not Legolas (I mean, he'd love one...)  Galadriel and Rosie want Lego Friends.  I'm waiting for Arwen to decide as her list keeps changing.  And I'm actually really puzzled as to my little ones.  Now that Eowyn just got stocked up in her play kitchen and baby-doll department, what else would she want?!! Our doll stroller is pretty broken these days...as is our old doll highchair.  And I bet we could use a tea set.  Ok, I can probably make something happen!  

I better wrap this post up--no hubby to get the kids moving this morning!

 Have a great week!  (I hope to be back to wish you a Happy Thanksgiving!)

Saturday, November 21, 2015

A Snow Day and a Two Year Old!

The forecast predicted 7-10 inches of snow to fall between 9 pm last night and today.  When we put the kids to bed it wasn't snowing (some of the older kids did see it just starting).

Of course, one of the first things we had to know when we woke up: did it snow?!!

Yes it did!

This morning's view from the back windows:

It was so beautiful outside, and so cozy inside:

I came into the front room to find another window-gazer:

You can see the shoveling and footprints in the snow.  The boys were out playing football.  It was probably 7:30 am.  I don't blame them.  I dragged Reina out for her first run in the snow.  I had to drag her off of the porch since she was afraid of the snow.  By the time we turned for home, she was loving it!  I think realizing she could eat it really made the difference.  I really really love the first snow.

You know what?  It snowed the morning after Eowyn was born.  I saw the snow from the hospital window and I was so so happy.  Yesterday my baby turned Two!  My nieces came over the day before and made little rose mini-cupcakes that we dusted with powdered sugar and pink sprinkles.  Eowyn's not that into cake, and REALLY loves her ice cream, so I kept the "cake" simple and got some vanilla ice cream.  With Thanksgiving on Thursday, I didn't want to over-do the sweets.

 The dollie is one that laughs if you squeeze it, from her Aunt who has seen Eowyn throw fits over her cousin's doll.

(That's a happy tongue hanging out. lol)

Present from us: pots for her beloved kitchen set!

Must love two-year-olds!  Their cuteness definitely makes up for the tantrums (and yes, they've begun).  Goodness I love these little ones!!